Get Started with a Free Water Consultation

A Quick Guide To Testing for pH


Many things have a pH level, including your tap water. Although there may be some noticeable signs that your water’s pH is low or high, pH testing is the best way to get an accurate measurement. A professional water test provides the most comprehensive look at pH levels and what they mean for overall water quality.

Read on to learn more about pH testing for your home’s water supply.

Quick Facts About pH Water Testing

If you’re interested in the basics of pH testing, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what to know:

How Does pH Testing Work?

When you’re trying to find a pH level, what you’re actually measuring is the number of hydrogen versus hydroxide ions in a given substance. The result is what’s called the pH scale, which ranges from zero to 14.

  • More hydrogen ions: Acidic (0 – 6)
  • Equal number of hydrogen and hydroxide ions: Neutral (7)
  • More hydroxide ions: Basic (8 – 14)

Looking for an easy way to test your water?
Learn more about our free, in-home water testing and schedule your appointment here.

Is There a DIY pH Test?

There are plenty of pH meter or pH test strip options that you use yourself. Most come with litmus paper, which turns different colors in response to acids or bases. Others may use a more sophisticated system that offers a digital pH reading.

You can also make your own pH test using red cabbage and distilled water. Cabbage strips turn the water dark blue, creating an indicator solution that changes to red, pink, green or yellow depending on the tested substance’s pH level. Of course, as with many DIY tests, this method may not be 100% accurate, depending on how it’s prepared and performed.

Should You Have a Professional pH Test?

At-home pH testing might seem quick and easy, but it’s not as comprehensive as a professional water test. You also won’t get in-depth information about other potential water issues, such as:

  • Water hardness
  • Iron
  • Chlorine
  • Total dissolved solids (TDS)

A DIY pH test strip or kit might be a good place to start, but it’s only a simple answer – it doesn’t help you figure out what to do with the results.

What Happens After Your Water Test?

When you choose professional testing, you get the benefit of a full consultation along the way. That means you’ll have personalized recommendations for water solutions. Depending on the test results, your local water expert might recommend a whole home water filtration system such as the Aquasential™ Smart High-Efficiency Water Filter. This system can be configured with Culligan’s Cullneu Filter, which is designed to neutralize acidic water.

Do Water pH Levels Matter?

When testing for pH, it might be helpful to keep in mind that chemists generally treat pure water as true neutral.

Pure water has a pH of 7, putting it right in the middle of the pH scale. However, a water source in nature is rarely “perfectly pure.” That’s why water experts use variable pH levels to study the changing chemistry in a body of water.

Water’s pH determines what nutrients and heavy metals can exist within it and how helpful or harmful those elements could be to biological systems. That includes you, your family, your pets and even your guests.

For this reason, it’s important to make pH water testing an annual routine. This helps you find out whether your water’s pH balance is within recommended ranges:

Fortunately, water that falls outside this range isn’t dangerous. The pH level of your diet — including water — hasn’t been shown to seriously affect human health. However, both alkaline and acidic water can cause their fair share of other problems — so let’s see what that means for your home.

Water pH: Alkaline vs. Acidic

The chances are high that your pH test will say that your tap water is either alkaline or acidic. Here’s what those results mean:

Alkaline Water

Alkaline or basic water has a high pH. It has a reputation for improving health in various ways, but those claims are debated in scientific communities. Alkaline water:

  • Doesn’t cause significant health issues
  • May have a bitter taste
  • Can taste or feel carbonated
  • May cause scale buildup
  • Might reduce efficiency of water-using appliances

Some people look for alkaline water filters or other water solutions to overcome these problems.

Acidic Water

Acidic water lives at the other end of the pH range, which means it has a low pH. Although pH levels themselves don’t directly impact human health, acid water can indicate the presence of heavy metals such as lead and copper. These are more soluble at low pH levels, meaning they can more easily dissolve in water.

Acidic water may also lead to:

  • Metallic flavor in drinking water
  • Blue stains in bathtubs and sinks
  • Rust stains
  • Corrosion of pipes and water-using appliances
  • Reduced water flow and pressure

Get Your Free pH Water Test

If you want to learn the pH value of your tap water, skip the pH testing strips and have a professional water test performed. You’ll learn more about what the pH measurement could indicate, what the results might be and which solutions are best for you.

With a Culligan test, you won’t even have to leave your home. Our local water experts come over and test for issues such as pH levels, water hardness, chlorine and more — generally within 30 minutes. For more in-depth information, your water expert may also send your test to our IL-EPA certified lab.

The first step is to plan your free, in-home water test and consultation. Schedule yours today.

Find A Location Near Me


Schedule Your Free
In-Home Water Test

Get better water in your home by scheduling an appointment with your local Culligan Water Expert.

Our Products

blue wave
Water Softeners

Water Softeners

With any of our soft water systems, get more out of your water-using appliances while spending less on energy and detergent.

View Products

Water Delivery

Water Delivery

There’s never been a better time to enjoy the convenience of scheduled bottled water deliveries from the Culligan® Water Experts

View Products

Water Filtration Systems

Water Filtration Systems

Culligan's water filtration systems have improved water quality for thousands of families worldwide.

View Products